PORTLAND, Ore. - Chris Brown scored in the first half to lead the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 win over Italian club Juventus Primavera before 8,135 in an international exhibition match at PGE Park on Saturday night. Portland was one of three stops for the Italian club while on a three-game tour of the Northwest.
It was a night of special events at PGE Park on Saturday. In addition to the Timbers' first exhibition match of the season, the club officially introduced Joey Webber as the new official mascot in a special halftime ceremony with long-time team icon “Timber” Jim Serrill who retired earlier this year. Webber has filled in as the Timbers' guest mascot since Timber Jim's departure.
Midfielder Bryan Little recorded an assist and goalkeeper Jordan James made six saves to help the Timbers record their first win at home since April 26. Saturday’s exhibition match finished a stretch of three games in five days for Portland.
Brown put the Timbers up by a goal in the 24th minute on a low hard shot from inside the box. Brown initiated the play with a long pass across the field to Little. After collecting the pass, Little worked the ball towards the goal where he passed the ball off to Brown cutting through the box even with the penalty spot. On his second touch, Brown fired the ball inside the far post past a diving effort from Juventus Primavera goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio.
Juventus Primavera’s roster featured three members of Italy's U-21 National Team, including Pinsoglio, forward Simone Esposito and midfielder Fausto Rossi and each factored into the team’s second game of its offseason tour.
Pinsoglio recorded five saves in the first half, including a stop on Timbers forward Chris Bagley early in the match. Pinsoglio and Bagley raced to a long ball played over the top into the box. Bagley got a toe on the ball to play it forward, but Pinsoglio was able to smother it before Bagley could get a strike on the ball.
Late in the first half, Brown, who had five shots on the night, had a chance at giving the Timbers a two-goal lead on a shot from 30 yards out. Pinsoglio was able to make the initial stop with a dive to his left, but couldn't hold onto the ball allowing it to trickle to within a foot from the goal line before he could re-gain possession.
Portland appeared to take a 2-0 lead in the 61st minute, on a great play by forward Takayuki Suzuki inside the box. Bagley sent a deep cross from the left side of the penalty area to Suzuki in the center of the box. He chested the ball down to his feet and laced a shot inside the right post, but Suzuki was ruled offside and the goal was disallowed.
Juventus Primavera had a handful of scoring chances throughout the night, including an opportunity in the first half following a string of sharp passes to move the ball up field and allowed Esposito a shot from the top of the box that was saved by James. Entering the match in the second half, Ciro Immobile had a chance to lock the game at 1-1 but missed on his shot attempt on bouncing pass through the box allowing a Portland defender to clear the ball.
Late in the game, the Italian side appeared to even the score at 1-1 on a shot by Rossi from the top of the box into the top right corner of the goal, but he too was waived offside.
Juventus Primavera concludes its tour on Tuesday in Eugene, Ore., with a match against a Eugene Metro Futbol Club select team at the University of Oregon. The Timbers have a 12-day break until their next USL First Division match on June 27 on the road against the Carolina Railhawks.
Notes: The Timbers played without midfielders Andrew Gregor, Shaun Higgins and Lawrence Olum and defender Scot Thompson due to injury ... Defender Vardan Adzemian made his first appearance with the Timbers this season, entering the match in the 89th minute as a sub ... Portland wore their “Rose City” red alternate kits against Juventus Primavera ... Brown has scored six total goals this season in 16 matches.
POR: GK James, D Griffin, D Karalexis, D J. Thompson, D Knowles, M Dombrowski, M Guante (Lara, 73), M Little (Oka, 59), M Brown, F Bagley (Adzemian, 89), F Suzuki
JUV: GK Pinsoglio, D Serino (Toukam, 78), D Mirarchi (Bamba, 67), D Alcibiade, D Mignano (De Paola, 45), M Pirrotta (Ntanos, 36)(Marrone, 45), M Gerbaudo, M Giovinco (Immobile, 55), M Rossi, F Esposito (Ayub, 45)(Russo, 55), F Essabr
POR: Brown (Little), 24